The Saturday Skinny: Get moving with your family to instill healthy lifestyles, lose weight

By: Don Chaddock, Gold Country News Service
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I'll just come out and say it: Being a parent is hard work and when trying to incorporate exercise into family life, it gets even more difficult. What I've learned is my children are more apt to follow my lead when it comes to healthy activities if I incorporate them into those activities. Seems like a no-brainer, but it took me a while to learn this seemingly basic rule. I take the kids with me on hikes or let them watch me lift weights or do step exercises. My wife Rachel usually straps the youngest to her back while I walk with our older kids. When lifting a hand weight, my almost-4-year-old son Liam likes to count along with me on the reps. For step exercises, he pulls up a stool, places it beside me, and tries to keep pace. My 18-month-old daughter Deirdre sometimes enjoys taking alternating steps with her papa, but I hold her hands since I use a tall step stool. The point is, I don't need a gym membership, personal trainer or other isolation-prone tactics to battle my weight loss. I can do the work at home with the children by my side. In the end, they'll learn a healthier lifestyle and I get the joy of being a part of their lives while focusing on myself. Since my weight-loss journey began 20 months ago, I've gone from a size 42/44 waist to 32 waist, wearing triple-extra large shirts to just a large (and sometimes a medium), and have went from 303 pounds to 198 pounds (a weight loss of 105 pounds). That all means I've lost 35 percent of my original body weight. If I can do it, anyone can. EXERCISE IS KEY While watching what I eat is important (eating five-to-six times daily), I find that getting this body moving has been the key to losing weight. A healthy diet will help me maintain my current weight, but without exercise, my body can become adjusted to the new routine and start storing fat for the famine that will probably never arrive. I need to move. A typical quick routine for me is to use a step stool for 30 minutes and do steps, alternating the "lifting leg" every three to five minutes. I also use a hand weight, doing 20 curls for each arm, then repeating it three to four times. EXERCISE TIP When shopping, park at the end of the parking lot, not close to the store. While in the store, walk around the outer edge at least once before starting your shopping. This is a quick way to get in some extra movement. RECIPE OF THE WEEK Grilled fish, asparagus and portabella mushoom This make a great dinner, incorporating protein and veggies. For the fish, buy frozen or fresh, follow directions on package. The basic method I use is to place over medium heat until fish begins to turn translucent. That's about when I turn it. For asparagus, spray with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place directly over coals (or medium high heat) for five minutes, or until there is a little color. Turn once but don't allow them to get "soggy." Marinate the mushroom caps in a little soy, red wine, salt, pepper and garlic (crushed or powder works fine). You can also experiment with flavors and add more herbs as desired. Marinate for at least an hour before grilling. Place over medium heat for 10 minutes or more, depending on how well done you want them. The less time on the grill, the more crisp they will be. This is a light, healthy meal that can easily be cooked on the backyard grill. Submit your questions or weight loss stories to or follow him on Twitter @anewsguy. Find us at